Reasons to Eat: Courgettes

by David Egan on July 13, 2011

Healthy Courgettes

Courgettes are high in fibre, potassium & vitamin C.

Photo:mtcarlson licensed under Creative Commons

Courgettes are in season and at their best – why not get them on the family menu this summer?

Courgettes are a type of summer squash that can be eaten cooked or raw. Courgettes (also known as zucchini!) are a great source of vitamin C and are a tasty way for you to get more essential vegetables into your family’s diet.

Nutritional Info

The skin of courgettes contains the nutrient beta-carotene – so to get the full nutritional benefits, make sure you eat the skin. This shouldn’t be a problem as the skin of courgettes is tender & tasty, with a pleasant texture. Courgettes are:

  • A good source of potassium (good for heart health)
  • Mainly made of water!
  • A good source of fibre, which is good for heart health and may help prevent certain cancers
  • Free from cholesterol and saturated fats
  • A fairly good source of folate (essential for growth and healthy blood cells)

Grow Your Own!

Courgettes have to be the simplest garden vegetable to grow, requiring very little maintenance or weeding. Just sow a few seeds in a pot in spring (March – April), then transplant young plants into a mound of compost in late May or June. They grow as a bush, with the courgettes forming behind nice yellow flowers. Keep the weeds down until the plant is big enough – when it will shade out weeds and save you a job. Your first courgettes should be ready in late June or early July. If you keep harvesting courgettes (which is a great job for children!), the plant will keep making new ones until the frosts come in the Autumn.

How to Buy & Store Courgettes

If you don’t have the time or space to grow your own, don’t worry. Courgettes are easily available in most supermarkets and greengrocers – and they are in season now!

  • The skin of courgettes should give slightly when you press on it with your fingernail
  • Try yellow courgettes if you can get them – they taste similar to the green variety but look great and have even more nutrients
  • Fresh courgettes should store for up to one week
  • Store courgettes in a plastic bag in the fridge

Using Courgettes

  • Raw courgette strips & chunks make a nutritious snack – great finger food to leave on the table during meals
  • Courgette skin has a weirdly pleasant rubbery “bite” to it, so raw courgette is good in salads
  • Slice courgettes, add herbs (garlic, rosemary, thyme) and bake – try adding onions, tomatoes, and breadcrumbs. Cook in a gas mark 5 oven for 30 to 35 minutes
  • Steam bite sized courgette pieces for 4 or 5 minutes
  • Lightly fry courgette in olive oil – or add to a stir-fry with other veggies like peppers, onions & mushrooms. Your courgettes will be cooked in 3 – 5 minutes
  • Add courgette chunks to peppers, onion and meat on a kebab for a healthy barbecue treat

Hopefully we’ve inspired you to check out these healthy & versatile summer vegetables. They’re in season right now, so keep an eye out for courgettes in a store near you!

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